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People who don't miss sunrises may be less likely to develop chronic health problems such as Type 2 Diabetes and heart disease than those who thrive on late nights and sleeping in, according to a new study.
Differences in sleep chronotypes or natural sleep-wake cycles that program our body's biological clock have long been linked to an increased risk of obesity, type 2 diabetes, fertility issues, digestive disorders, and mental illness. However, much of this research has concentrated on what happens when people are unable to sleep when their bodies are naturally wired to do so a common problem for shift workers.
The new study took a different approach, focusing on individuals who do adhere to their natural sleep-wake cycles, also known as circadian rhythms. The researchers looked at two distinct sleep chronotypes: "Early Birds," who were most alert in the mornings and went to bed earlier, and"Night Owls," who were most alert later in the day and stayed up late.
According to study findings published in Experimental Physiology, night owls had a lower ability to use fat for energy, which meant that fats accumulated in the body and increased the risk of type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease.
These metabolic differences can be explained by how well people with different sleep chronotypes use the hormone insulin to turn glucose, or the sugars in the blood from foods we eat, into energy that cells can burn immediately or store for later. The study found that the early birds used glucose more efficiently for energy than the night owls, allowing them to churn through this energy source and then burn stores of fat for energy too. By contrast, the night owls didn’t use glucose as efficiently or burn through as much of their fat stores.
“The differences in fat metabolism between ‘early birds’ and ‘night owls’ shows that our body’s circadian rhythm could affect how our bodies use insulin,” “A sensitive or impaired ability to respond to the insulin hormone has major implications for our health.
To get these results, researchers used advanced imaging to assess body composition, tested participants for insulin sensitivity, and used breath samples to measure fat and carbohydrate metabolism. Researchers also monitored activity levels, provided participants with all their meals to control energy intake, and conducted treadmill tests to determine their aerobic fitness levels.
"The differences in fat metabolism between 'early birds' and 'night owls' show that our body's circadian rhythm may affect how our bodies use insulin," "A sensitive or impaired ability to respond to the insulin hormone has serious consequences for our health.
Researchers assessed body composition using advanced imaging, tested participants for insulin sensitivity, and measured fat and carbohydrate metabolism using breath samples. Researchers also tracked participants' activity levels, provided them with all of their meals to control their energy intake, and ran treadmill tests to determine their aerobic fitness levels.
The study discovered that early birds used more fat for energy both at rest and during these exercise tests. Early birds were also more insulin sensitive, which means they were better at using this hormone to lower blood sugar and were more likely to burn fat for energy. Night owls were insulin resistant, which meant they required more of this hormone to lower blood sugar levels and stored more fat.
"This discovery expands our understanding of how our bodies circadian rhythms influence our health. "Because chronotype appears to influence our metabolism and hormone action, we propose that chronotype could be used to predict a person's disease risk."
In The En
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